This year, a local man will be honored on a national level in the 122nd annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.  A floragraph, featuring organ donor Kirk Walker of Columbus, Ohio, will be one of 60 floral portraits adorning the Donate Life Float.

Kirk Walker

In its eighth year in the parade, the Donate Life float celebrates and honors the lifesaving gifts of organ and tissue donation.

Kirk, an avid bicyclist who was very involved in his church, died after a car accident in 1987 at the age of 17.  As an organ, eye and tissue donor, Kirk touched many lives, one of whom contacted the family to express his gratitude.

“We received a letter from the farmer who got his heart and heard great reports on several other recipients,” said Roger.  “The knowledge that so many were helped has made our loss so much more bearable.”

Kirk’s spirit will continue to soar on the Donate Life Float, “Seize the Day,” a theme inspired by the lesson taught by donor families and transplant recipients to make the most of every moment.  Volunteers in Pasadena will begin building Kirk’s floragraph and send it to his family to complete in Columbus in time for the parade on Jan. 1, 2011.

“We are very, very honored that Kirk was chosen to be recognized on the float,” said Roger Walker, Kirk’s father and 16-year Lifeline of Ohio board member.  “Our family plans to go out to Pasadena to help put finishing touches on the float and watch it go by from the grandstand.”

Roger Walker holds a picture of his son, Kirk, who was an organ donor.

You can tune in to see the Donate Life Float make its way through the Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1 at 11 a.m. EST.  Check your local listings for details.